Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Newt Gingrich and Those Tampa Christians

Gingrich, Messiah of the Evangelicals
25 January 2012    Edited by Gillian Palmer

Translated By Micaela Bester

France - Le Monde - Original Article (French)

    Sourced from Watching America

Tampa, Florida. The audience, a mix of all ages, is welcomed in, heads bowed, eyes shut, arms outstretched and palms open. An outdoor mass? No – a meeting of Newt Gingrich’s followers in the immense parking lot of the spiritual center of River Church, a “church of awakening.”
The “awakening of America, land of mission” is exactly what the master of the house, an evangelical preacher, fervently desires. He fires up the audience while they are waiting for the candidate for the Republican nomination. “Only Jesus can heal the wounds of America,” he assures.* The banners fluttering in the wind invoke, instead, the very human “Newt.” The wounds are clearly identified: The murder of “unborn babies,” the “taking over of this country by Islam” and the theft of the “rights and freedoms of America, this land where the name of God is proclaimed.” The "amen"s soon give way to chants of “U.S.A.!, U.S.A.!” until the audience is out of breath, before the prayer to the flag.
But the awakening has begun: “America is coming back with Newt Gingrich,” proclaims a local representative. “Newt is going to take the state of Florida,” prophesies a “non-union” teacher. “We are here to save this great country,” adds a 60-odd-year-old who emigrated from Cuba in 1962. “He is going to take back for us the America that we love.”*
And here he is now, that very savior, taking the stand, in the company of Callista, his very blonde third wife. She nods her head conscientiously to each of his sentences. “Who has the capacity to face Obama?” Gingrich starts, mocking his rival, Mitt Romney. “Campaigning for six years [Romney was also a candidate in 2008], it’s desperate. And desperation can drive one to say anything.”*
He makes them laugh, “the people” to whom he wants to give power at the expense of the candidate of the Republican establishment. He also directs his anger toward the “media of the elite” who, according to him, support Barack Obama.
Banners describe him as “Obama’s worst nightmare for the debates.” Gingrich uses his cheeky humor and his flirtatiousness against the incumbent president, "food stamp president" (in other words, the president of welfare for the idle). In front of me, he scoffs, “He will always be able to use a prompter!" The evangelical faithfuls are overjoyed: “In the campaign, Newt was presumed dead just a few weeks ago. Today, he could win. It’s a resurrection.” Among these fervent evangelicals, everyone seems to have forgotten the candidate’s marital indiscretions.
Holding Callista’s hand, the ex-Speaker of the House is already rolling toward another campaign event in Florida, where the primaries take place Jan. 31, but where voting is already open. He has made no concrete promises, except for “the absolute reestablishment of the borders.”* Newt has just bragged about being “a genuine conservative sprung from the ground.” He knew to speak the words that his fans had come to hear: “real change in Washington” where “everything is broken,” and “reestablishment of American exceptionalism.”*
*Editor’s Note: These quotations, accurately translated, could not be verified.